7 YouTube Videos Every Caregiver Should Watch

As a caregiver, you have many responsibilities. You may have been positioned as a caregiver at the last minute, with no formal training on taking care of your senior loved one. Taking care of the elderly, you should have a visual demonstration of how to handle their needs, for their safety and yours. Here are seven YouTube videos that every caregiver should watch.

1. Understanding and Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

As a caregiver, you may have a limited support system. Family and friends may help out initially, but their support gradually fades away. They are busy supporting their family. Their finances are tied up in their household needs. They don’t understand that even one hour a day provides you with much-needed relief.

You’ll notice signs of caregiver burnout such as having anxiety, restless nights, or are easily frustrated. You may avoid social interactions as well. Second Opinion has a health care team addressing caregiver burnout and what can be done about it. It’s important to address your health and emotional needs before you can assist others.

2 . Feeding a Senior While in Bed

Feeding a senior is not as easy as you would think. There are a lot of concerns, such as if they can sit up properly to swallow food, if they can chew their food, and what foods they can eat. A senior can easily become malnourished due to special dietary concerns of dysphagia. So it’s important that you understand how and what foods to feed your senior loved one. Caregiver Minute presents this video that shows you step by step instructions on feeding a senior while they are in bed.

3. Simple Modifications for Senior Home Safety

85-90% of seniors want to stay at home, and it is recommended they stay home for their mental well-being. Were you aware that the majority of household accidents seniors are involved in occur in the bathroom? Certain accidents such as falling over objects, falling off ladders, or slipping in the bathroom occur often, but can be avoided. Home Instead reviews their Home Safety Checklist. In this video, you will learn simple and inexpensive tips to modify your senior loved ones home for safety.

4. How to Transfer Your Loved One

As your senior loved ones primary caregiver, you are going to need to transition them from a laying down position to a sitting up position. You may need to move them from the bed to a chair. Moving them around often helps prevents bed sores and their muscles from tightening. It also exposes them to other areas of the home so that isolation and loneliness does not set in.

Transferring your loved one around is not easy at all. It is far more difficult than moving a heavy object because you must be careful not to cause physical injuries to yourself or them. Watch this video by Family Caregiver Alliance to learn how to transfer seniors around safely.

5. Managing Medications

A very tough job for caregivers is managing medications. It’s a difficult enough task getting a senior to take just one prescription, but when you have a host of them, it’s confusing as well. Doctors do attempt to prescribe the least amount of medications for a patient. When they are on multiple pills, they then attempt to let the senior take as many as possible together. This is not always safe to do. So in those situations, you, as their caregiver take on the immense responsibility of ensuring they take their medications on time. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has an outstanding video reviewing various tips on proper medication management.

6. How to Monitor Blood Sugar

Your loved one’s blood sugar should be carefully monitored. If it’s too high or too low, the senior could become very sick. Knowing where their blood sugar levels are at is important to treat them immediately if something should occur. It’s also important to track it so your senior loved one’s doctor will know if their diet should be adjusted or prescriptions changed.

Monitoring your blood sugar is not as simple as poking one’s finger. There are precautions and proper procedures that should be followed. Watch this video from the Mayo Clinic that shows you step-by-step instructions on how to monitor your loved one’s blood sugar levels. They also have this important video demonstrating how to administer insulin using an insulin pen.

7. How To Measure Blood Pressure

High and low blood pressure levels can alert you to a serious problem in your loved one. Too high or low blood pressure could be an indication of neurological or heart disorders. The symptoms include dizziness, thirst, confusion, and a host of other symptoms. However, it’s not always apparent, especially in seniors with diabetes. As a caregiver, you should monitor your loved one’s blood pressure levels to ensure they are safe. Cal Poly’s PolyFit students give an excellent overview and demonstration of how to measure blood pressure.

These videos will help ease your transition into the role of caregiver for your senior loved one. Best of all, they are always there for you to refer to if you get nervous or forget.

October is Healthy Lung Month

Healthy Lung MonthYou hear a lot of talk about October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, but were you aware it’s also Healthy Lung Month? In fact, the week of October 19th through 25th is the National Respiratory Care Week and October 29th is Lung Health Day. So, why October you may ask? Well, flu season begins in October!

According to the CDS, during the 2013-2014 flu season, 60% of flu-associated hospitalizations were those between the ages of 18 to 64. The highest rates of those hospitalized were those over 65 years of age; however, those ages 50 to 64 were the second highest, even more so than the 2009 pandemic. So you can see why it’s important to maintain healthy lungs during October and the entire year.

Check out these staggering facts (per year) regarding our nation’s lung health:

• 206,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer
• Lung cancer accounts for 158,000 deaths, which is more than breast, prostate, colon, and pancreas cancers combined
• Smoking accounts for 90% of lung cancer deaths in men and 80% in women.
• 7 million people are diagnosed with emphysema (which leads to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD))
• 10 million people are diagnosed with chronic bronchitis
• 25 million people have asthma in the United States

The most widely known lung diseases include:

• Asthma
• COPD
• Influenza
• Lung Cancer

You already know that smoking is bad for you, so I won’t touch on it any longer. To help fight lung diseases, during Healthy Lung Month, and every month, you need to exercise, purify the air in your home and at work, prevent infections, and socialize!

Exercise for Healthy Lungs

Healthy lungs lead to healthy lung function. Your lung muscles must be strong and flexible so you can inhale and exhale with no trouble. Cardio (aerobic) exercise is an excellent method of improving your lung function as well as strengthen them. While exercising, make sure you take full, deep breaths.

Purify the Air in Your Home

You may feel it’s just stale air in your home, but the quality of air you breathe can have damaging effects on your lungs. So, work on keeping the air in your home fresh and clean, and then keeping the unhealthy air out.

• Use a dehumidifier in your home. It helps pull moisture from the air, which prevents mold from developing.
• Add a few air-cleaning plants to your home. They help remove bad organic compounds which can lead to respiratory issues. A few good plants are red dracaenas, peace lilies, and snake plants.
• Keep smokers outside your home
• Ensure you test for radon in your home (the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States)
• Vent dryers, water heaters, and gas-burning stoves outside
• Remove asbestos and lead paint professionally

Purify the Air at Work

You spend the majority of your awake hours at work. So it’s important to keep the air pure there as well. If you suspect a dangerous substance or environment, speak to your supervisor, human resource department, or maintenance staff immediately.

• If your workplace is not smoke-free, talk to human resources to get that worked out.
• Keep strong chemicals away from the general public areas. Better yet, use nontoxic materials
• Do not obstruct vents – keep furniture and papers away from them.
• Wear appropriate protection gear, such as face shields and gloves, to prevent coming in contact with harmful substances.

Prevent Infections

Another way to keep healthy lungs is to prevent infections from happening. Check with your doctor about natural remedies to use to stave off colds and flu’s. One thing is for sure, get plenty of antioxidants in your diet. Other things you can do to prevent infections include:

• Wash your hands with warm soapy water. If none is available, an alcohol-based cleanser is an excellent substitute.
• Wash your hands frequently when in contact with multiple people.
• Stay away from large crowds if possible during the cold and flu season.
• Talk to your doctor to see if the pneumonia or flu vaccine is right for you.
• Get regular checkups to ensure you stay healthy or catch any potential problems before they occur.

Get Out and Socialize

Socializing is an excellent way to keep oxygen flowing through your system, especially if you can be a chatterbox! They say laughter is the best medicine; well, you must inhale as you gasp, right? During October, meet up with family and friends and tell them all about what they can do during Healthy Lung Month.

Yes, Avoid Smoke

I know, I said there wasn’t much to be said on this. However, it’s still important to note. Healthy lungs are healthy without cigarette smoke. Secondhand smoke is equally as dangerous as 7,300 non-smokers have lost their lives to lung cancer. Your risk factor is increased to develop lung cancer and COPD’s if you smoke.

While we should practice healthy lung functions all year round, it’s nice to have a few key points to focus on during October for Healthy Lung Month awareness. Spread the word!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer AwarenessOctober marks the beginning of fall. As the leaves start to turn colors, so does our awareness of our health. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). The United States refers to it as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). You’ll mainly notice someone participating and supporting National Breast Cancer Awareness Month as they wear pink ribbons or have pink associated with themselves in some way.

This month is recognized world-wide as breast cancer charities attempt to increase awareness and raise funds. These funds are used for research and to support families in need. In doing so, many lives are saved each year.

Understanding the Survival Rate

The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) estimates that the percentage of those surviving breast cancer is 89.2%. This study was conducted over a five-year period during 2004-2010. The good news is that the treatment has improved since then, so this rate may be higher now.

Those in Stages 0 and I have a 100% survival chance. Those with Stage II have a 93% survival chance. Stage III survivors have a 72% survival chance. And those with Stage IV breast cancer have only a 22% survival chance. These numbers are real, but as you can see, early detection and treatment as early as possible extends the likelihood of survival. This is why having a Breast Cancer Awareness Month is so important for us all.

It’s important for women to get mammograms regularly to catch breast cancer in its earliest stage. Those 40 to 49 years old should consult with their doctor about when and how often to get their screenings. Women 50 to 74 years old should be screened every two years. The CDC has produced this fact sheet of which you can find out more information on how you can qualify for a free or low-cost mammogram. You can also sign up for the Early Detection Program, operated by the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. This program helps you keep up with your detection plan.

Trembling Facts about Breast Cancer

• Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer for women
• 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime
• Breast cancer is not age specific. 1% of breast cancer cases are found in women under 45 years of age.
• Of all racial and ethnic groups, black women have the highest death rates of breast cancer
• 232,670 United States women are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 (American Cancer Society)
• 40,000 women die each year from breast cancer
• 2,000 men get breast cancer each year in the United States
• 400 men die each year from breast cancer
• Breast cancer incidences decreased 7% from 2002-2003. It’s believed to be because of the decline in use of hormone therapy after menopause. This was due to a study that the Women’s Health Initiative released in 2002.
• Breast cancer deaths have decreased, especially in women younger than 50, since 1989. This is due to the early detection screening, breast cancer awareness activities, and improved treatment.
• The United States has over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors!

Common Activities during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The National Football League

In October, the National Football League supports breast cancer awareness in their stadiums. Pink is integrated on and off the field.

Race for the Cure

The first Race for the Cure was organized in October 1983 in Dallas, TX, of which 800 people participated. Since then, it has been known as the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and now has over 150 events in four continents. There are 1.6 million people participating in this 3-day event now.

Walks to End Breast Cancer

Many cities and organizations are sponsoring “day” walks throughout the country. St. Louis hosts a 1-day breast cancer walk event of three miles. Atlanta has a 30-mile walk. Canada has a 60 km walk over the weekend. Avon also sponsors a 39 mile walk.

Great Architect Gaming Community

The gaming communities are even engaged with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Great Architect Gaming Community encourages all their members to wear pink all of October.

Find a National Breast Cancer Month Event Near You!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is important for us all. Looking at the figures that 1 in every 8 women will develop breast cancer, this is probably personal to you too. So get your pink ribbons ready and participate this October in ending this horrible disease.

5 Stages of Breast Cancer

breastcancer3As you know, breast cancer develops and can spread rapidly through the body. In order for doctors to make a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan, they must know which stage of breast cancer you are in. This process is called staging, of which the doctor can determine how large the tumor is and how far it has spread. Once the doctor has performed a biopsy of the tumor or lymph node, they can start making the determination. Let’s review how breast cancer spreads through the body and its five stages.

How Cancer Spreads Throughout the Body

The process of cancer spreading throughout the body is called Metastasis. When cancer reaches another part of your body and form a tumor, that new tumor is called a metastatic tumor.

A metastatic tumor is not a new type of cancer in your body. If you have breast cancer and the cancer cells spread to your lungs, it’s not lung cancer, it’s still breast cancer. You just have breast cancer cells in your lungs. When you put the cells under a microscope, they will look like the cells in your breast. The same holds true if it travels to your liver, stomach, ovaries, prostate, or any other area of your body.

Once cancer cells break away from the tumor, the cancer spreads through the body in three ways: via the tissue, the lymphatic system, or the blood.

1. Tissue – When the cancer cells spread in the local area, it travels via tissue.

2. Lymphatic system – Cancer can spread from its place or origin and get into your lymphatic system. This system is responsible for fighting infections in your body. So, this system carries your cells everywhere.

3. Blood – Your blood circulates throughout your entire body. Cancer cells can get into the blood and travel via your blood vessels.

The 5 Stages of Breast Cancer

The American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) recognizes breast cancer as having five main stages, stages one through five. However, they are generally written in Roman numerals, 0 through IV. Once your cancer spreads or gets worse, it is progressing. Staging consists of the three combinations of the following classifications:

1. The tumor’s size (T)
2. The number of lymph nodes found (N)
3. How far the cancer cells have spread to other parts of the body (M)

Stages 0 through IV are considered the early forms or stages of the disease. Stages III and IV are considered advanced stages of breast cancer.

Stage 0

Stage 0 breast cancer is considered noninvasive. There is no threat that the cells will grow or spread.

Stage I

Stage I is invasive breast cancer. The tumor is smaller than 2 cm (about the width of your finger). There are two subcategories for Stage I breast cancer: 1A and 1B.

• 1A – The cancer cells have not spread outside the breast
• 1B – The cancer cells have traveled outside the breast into the lymph nodes. There may or may not be a tumor present in the breast.

Stage II

Stage II is invasive breast cancer. This stage also has two subcategories.

• 2A – The tumor is smaller than 2 cm, or there is no tumor found in the breast. However, cancer cells may be present in the lymph nodes. Breast cancer may also be considered stage 2A if the tumor is between 2 cm-5 cm and the cancer cells have not spread to the lymph nodes.

• 2B – The tumor is between 2 cm-5 cm, and the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes. Breast cancer may also be considered stage 2B if the tumor is larger than 5 cm, but the cells have not spread to the lymph nodes.

Stage III

In stage III, the cancer is now locally advanced. This means the cancer has spread to other tissues in the breast or the lymph nodes; however, it has not made its way throughout the body to other sites. Stage III breast cancer has three subcategories.

• 3A – The tumor is larger than 5 cm and has spread to one, two, or three lymph nodes. The tumor could also be of any size, but has spread through multiple lymph nodes.

• 3B – The tumor is of any size and has spread through breast tissues, the chest and skin muscles, and there may be signs in the lymph nodes in the breast or underarm.

• 3C – The tumor is of any size and has spread to more than 10 underarm lymph nodes. Alternatively, the cancer may be found in the lymph nodes around the collarbone, in the breast, and/or under the arm.

Stage IV

Stage IV is considered metastatic breast cancer or advanced breast cancer. The cancer has spread beyond its origin point. It’s not localized anymore. This is when the lungs, brain, liver, and other sites are affected. At this point, treatment can extend a patient’s life; however, the cancer is incurable.

Once your breast cancer stage has been identified, you and your doctor will discuss treatment options. As you can see, knowing the early signs of breast cancer may prevent you from reaching stage IV breast cancer.

5 Signs of Breast Cancer

breast cancerBreast cancer can attack anyone, at any age. According to BreastCancer.org, 1 in 8 women in America will develop invasive breast cancer, and 1 in 1,000 men will develop it. Breast cancer is the second most fatal cancer for women in the United States. The earlier the cancerous cells are detected, the better your chances for survival. Here are a few of the common signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

The Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

There is no one pin-point reason for having breast cancer; however, there are common signs and symptoms exhibited in men and women. The most common signs of breast cancer in women are breast pain, discharge in the nipple, and lumps in the breast. For men, they will experience a non-painful mass, generally below the nipple.

Breast Pain

As stated above, breast pain is one of the most common signs of breast cancer… that’s noticed. This is usually a later symptom, not exhibited in the beginning stages of breast cancer. Due to women not performing self-breast exams often or not having a regularly scheduled mammogram, the earliest symptom, breast lumps, goes unnoticed. So women see their doctor once the pain develops.

Not all types of breast cancers cause pain, and in fact, the majority of the time a woman experiences pain in the breast, it is not caused by breast cancer. These pains can be recurring or non-recurring. If it’s a recurring pain lasting more than a few months, it’s advised to see your doctor. If the pain concerned is focal (just one spot in the breast) and the pain progresses, this is an indication to see your doctor.

The tricky part about breast pain in women is that it’s very common. The female body goes through many changes. This is just a few days before they start their menstrual cycle, lasting the entire cycle. It’s also common for premenopausal women. During those changes, the breast area can become sore. Other times, there may be a benign lump in the breast causing pain. A benign lump is one that is not cancerous. Breast pain can also be associated with pregnancy or trauma.

Nipple Discharge

Another common symptom of breast cancer is nipple discharge. Discharge can be normal, so it’s important to understand the difference in your discharge. If you squeeze your breast and have a discharge, this is normal. Even having a milky or green colored discharge is considered safe, since women produce milk. A few causes for concern include:

  • If your breast discharges without you disturbing it (squeezing it)
  • If your discharge is clear or bloody
  • If it’s an excessive amount of discharge and you’re not breastfeeding or haven’t recently
  • If the discharge is just from one spot on your nipple as opposed to multiple spots

Lumps in the Breast

The most noticeable cause of breast cancer in its early stage is the development of lumps in the breast. A breast is naturally lumpy, making it difficult to distinguish a cancerous lump. As women become somewhat familiar with their body, they tend to learn any masses in their breasts. However, they may not perform their self-exams frequently or not at all. The new developments of lumps are the cause for alarm. The women that are committed to performing their breast self-examinations are the ones that save their own lives.

Changes in the Breast

Watch out for changes in the breast. If you notice your breast has enlarged, or your nipple has retracted, this is something you want to talk to your doctor about. A sudden appearance of veins on the breast also should be checked out. This is not always cause for alarm though. If your breast enlarges, your tissue grows as well. So your veins will also grow.

Other changes to watch out for in your breast is if your skin starts to dimple. These are visible depressions in your breast, of which you can see best if you lift your arm straight in the air. If your breast’s texture changes, such as to that of an orange peel, or starts to peel, scale, or flake, you need to schedule an exam.

Issues with Other Areas of the Body

Signs of breast cancer are not always limited to the breast area. Rapid weight loss and lumps or swelling in the armpit area are also signs of breast cancer. Cancer cells can eat away at your body’s energy, making you lose weight rapidly. Losing 10 pounds or more is cause for concern.

Breast cancer can spread throughout the body. It spreads to the lymph nodes, and the closest occurrence is the lymph nodes directly under the arm or around the collarbone.

A breast exam with your doctor is the best way to diagnose if you do, in fact, have cancerous cells in your breast. This is determined by a mammogram, biopsy, ultrasound, or sometimes an MRI. These tests are not always conclusive, so you should visit your doctor a few weeks later if you are experiencing increased symptoms.